Labor Attorney Warns Workers Against Getting Too Wrapped Up In March Madness

SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It’s March Madness, and that means your workplace is likely buzzing with bracket talk.

It’s the kind of bonding that makes many workers happier — for about three weeks anyway. But can it go too far?

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, the NCAA Tournament makes many people feel more alive.

“There’s that possibility of that Cinderella story,” said Joe Hovan, of Secaucus.

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That’s just one reason. There are more.

“A couple of bucks and some bragging rights and some needling,” Hovan said.

For Matt Walsh, of Wood-Ridge, filling out his bracket is a top priority.

“Hopefully none of my Final Four get knocked out first,” said Walsh, who picked North Carolina to reach the final.

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He’ll get some work done, too.

“One eye on my work, one on my phone, where I have my brackets,” he said.

Labor and employment attorney Michael Schmidt, of the firm Cozen O’Connor, tells workers not to lose their heads over March Madness.

“Don’t overdo it,” he said. “Understand that you are there at work to be productive.”

Schmidt also wants organizers of the office pools to know that while law enforcement is unlikely to notice, just to be safe, make sure brackets are social activities only not sponsored by the boss.

As for employers, Schmidt says don’t encourage bracket pools, but don’t squash it, either.

“Allow them to have that kind of comraderie, even if it does mean a little bit of a decrease in productivity,” he said. “In the long term, you will benefit by how the employees look at you as an employer.”

Besides, it seems there’s just no stopping it anyway.

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